Her curiosity piqued, Ginny crept closer to the shed. The doors had been left open, and since her father and Bill never neglected to lock the shed behind them, someone must be in there. Ron was hidden in his room writing to Hermione, Luna and her mum were busy in the kitchen, Dad was at work and Bill was away on Order business. Which left only one person who could be making that noise.
Harry sat with his back against the wall, legs stretched out before him, levitating small pieces of hardware and magicking them into an open glass jar that sat on a table several feet away. Across the shed, its newly-polished chrome fenders gleaming in the early afternoon sunlight, sat Sirius' antique motorcycle. He'd given it to Bill last summer soon after they'd moved into Grimmauld Place, joking in a voice tinged with melancholy that he was too old and too infamous to be courting with it anyway, so he might as well give it to someone who could appreciate its usefulness in attracting women. Ginny remembered thinking at the time that she'd never heard anything more heartbreaking in her life.
Bill'd kept the motorcycle after Sirius' death, until he and Ginny used it to pick up Harry from his aunt and uncle's house last week. As soon as they'd arrived safely back at the Burrow, Bill had handed the keys to Harry and told him the motorcycle was Sirius' legacy to him. It was the only remnant of his life that Narcissa Malfoy hadn't snatched away the moment the inquest into Sirius' death was complete.
Bits and pieces of metal lay strewn across the floor around the motorcycle. Only then did Ginny remember the glass jar had once been filled with her father's collection of nails, screws and bolts. Another, smaller jar of nuts and washers, its lid still screwed tightly on, sat on the floor next to Harry.
Ginny leaned against the door frame and crossed her arms over her chest. "You'll be at it all day, if you keep going about things like that," she said with just the mildest hint of reproof in her voice.
The bolt he'd been directing into the open jar hovered just above the lip before it fell to the table with a clatter. "Bugger," he said softly. "Now I've lost count."
"I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to-"
"Nah." He gave a dismissive wave. "S'nothing."
Without venturing too close into Harry's personal space, she slid down to sit on the floor beside him. "What are you doing anyway?"
He shrugged as he coaxed a large, rusted and bent nail a few inches off the floor. "I tried to open that jar." He jerked his chin in the direction of the table. "But the lid was screwed on so tight that when I finally got it off everything went flying."
"Oh." A few pieces lay scattered nearby and she picked them up, rolling them back and forth between her hands. "Why did you want to get in the jar?"
He gave a ragged sigh. "I was trying to fix the motorcycle. I needed a bolt-" He dug into his pocket and pulled out the piece he'd needed. "-but I can't get a washer and nut to go with it."
Ginny reached over and grabbed the jar that sat next to him. Using her wand, she gave it two quick taps along the side of the lid, then with a grunt and a sharp turn of her wrist she twisted the lid off. "Here you go." She handed the jar back to Harry.
When he turned to her she saw the tracks running down his tarnish-streaked face and realized he'd been crying. He didn't say anything, but gave her an odd look that left her feeling rather unsettled. She set the jar on the floor between them. Harry went back to levitating hardware, a single piece at a time, and returning it to the jar on the table.
After several minutes of uncomfortable silence Ginny got to her feet and dusted off the dirt and debris that had stuck to her bum. "I reckon I'll go back to the house," she said.
She had just reached the threshold when Harry's voice stopped her in her tracks. "Don't go!" he cried with a note of desperation she didn't think she'd ever heard from him before. She turned around to see him looking up at her with an expression she could only describe as pleading. "I could use the company."
The intensity of his request had thrown her for a loop, and for a moment or two she didn't know what to say or do. Finally she said, "Okay. But only if you promise to use a quicker spell to clean up these screws and things."
He gave her a crooked grin. "Okay." With a wave of his wand, all the pieces of hardware sailed into the air and settled in the jar. "Better?"
"Better." She returned to her original spot. "Do you know anything about how to fix a motorcycle?"
He shook his head. "Not really. My uncle used to make me change the oil and transmission fluid on his car, but I don't even know where to begin with this."
"What did you need the bolt for then?"
"I was trying to tighten the saddle. I'd noticed it was missing a bolt while I was polishing the fenders."
"Lovely work there, by the way. I don't reckon they shone so brightly even when they were brand new."
Harry's brow was furrowed when he looked at her. "Are you making fun of me?"
Ginny put on her best wide-eyed innocent look and batted her eyelashes at him. "Wouldn't dream of it."
He made a wry face before looking away. "It's not wise to make fun of someone who can repel a Killing Curse."
She felt her eyebrows shoot up. "Really? Well, it's not wise to underestimate someone who can outprank Fred and George and get away with it."
She saw him glance at her briefly, then away again. "Yeah, I've noticed."
"Good. So now we know each other's limits."
He chuckled. "Reckon so."
Ginny watched him in profile for a moment and considered her next move. On a whim, she thrust her hand toward him. "I'm Ginny, by the way. Ginny Weasley."
She chewed on the inside of her cheek as she waited for his response. He turned to her slowly and looked at her as though she'd just sprouted antlers. Then, just as slowly, almost as though he feared making any sudden moves in her presence, he wiped his hand on his trousers and clasped hers. "Harry Potter."
She gave his hand a firm shake before releasing it. "Pleased to meet you, Harry. I think I've heard my brother Ron mention you once or twice."
She couldn't help grinning when he caught on to her game. "You're Ron's sister? Don't you go to Hogwarts? I think I may have seen you around."
"Yeah, I do. I've got my O.W.L. year coming up."
"O.W.L.s." He whistled. "Good luck."
"Thanks. I'm not too worried, though. S'long as I take more than three, Mum'll be happy."
Harry laughed softly under his breath. His next question, however, surprised her. "What sort of a name is Ginny, anyway?" His cheeks flushed pale pink and he worried at a splinter in the floor. "I mean, is it short for something?"
Ginny leaned her head back against the wall and rolled her eyes. She'd always hated her given name and never shared it with anyone if she could help it. "Ginevra."
"Yeah. It's Italian for Guinevere."
"I didn't know you were Italian."
She snorted. "I'm not. But Mum's mum was, and I'm named for her."
"Oh." Then, so quietly she almost didn't hear him, he said, "It's a pretty name."
He couldn't have knocked the wind out of her more effectively if he'd punched her in the stomach. For what seemed like forever she just sat there opening and closing her mouth like a fish on dry land, unsure how-or even if-to respond. At last she managed a feeble "Thanks."
Harry then made a loud throat-clearing noise that cut through the tension like a knife through softened butter. "Do-d'you know anything about how to make this contraption run?" He gestured toward the motorcycle. "I can't even get the bloody thing started!"
Once again, Harry's mercurial nature had thrown Ginny off balance. She swore internally. Would she ever be able to keep her equilibrium around him? Still swearing at herself, she fished around for an articulate response, only too aware of his steady, penetrating gaze. Finally she blurted out, "Bill's got a manual in his room, I think. D'you want me to fetch it?"
His face seemed to light up with excitement. "Would you? That'd be excellent!"
"You bet." She pulled out her wand and gave it a wave. "Accio motorcycle manual!"
She had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing out loud at the expression on Harry's face. "Your mum's going to have kittens when she sees a book flying through her house and across the garden."
"As long as it doesn't hit anyone on the way, she probably won't even notice. She learned to overlook a lot after raising Fred and George." Ginny looked up as three books sailed in through the open doorway and landed in a neat pile at her feet. "Looks like Bill had more than one manual in his bookcase."
Harry slid closer and took the topmost book from the stack. "None of this lot seems to be for the right model," he said glumly, running his finger along the spine. "Sirius' motorcycle is an Indian, and these are for-" He turned his head sharply to one side to read the titles. "-Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, and Honda."
"It is an antique," Ginny pointed out. "Maybe Bill couldn't find a manual for the right model, and picked up every other one he could find."
"Yeah, I reckon so."
"C'mon, Harry," she said, nudging him with her elbow. "It's a start, at least. Try to look on the bright side." She picked up the manual Harry'd been examining a moment earlier and leafed through the pages until she found the table of contents. "Look!" she said excitedly, tugging on Harry's shirt sleeve to catch his attention. "There's a section on changing oil. Bill said he'd been meaning to do that for ages when we were on our way to fetch you, but hadn't yet found the time."
Harry slid even closer until they were seated right next to each other, their bodies touching in an almost continuous line from shoulder to foot. "Yeah? What does it say?"
Ginny thumbed to the correct page. "See? There's even a diagram!"
Harry's breath warmed her cheek as he leaned over her shoulder to study the illustration. Her heart, traitorous organ that it was, started to beat a little faster; she hadn't been this close to him in...well, ever. She'd managed to rein in the more tempestuous of her feelings for him over the past year and a half, but she knew that some feelings never truly went away. Even so, she forced herself to focus on the open book in her lap, and not to notice that he was moving his lips right next to her ear as he read the directions for changing oil on a motorcycle.
When he reached his arm across her chest to turn the page, however, she couldn't control the tiny gasp that escaped her lips. She felt him stiffen beside her and withdraw his arm. "Sorry."